General Information

What is ComNet19?

ComNet is the annual conference of The Communications Network, an organization that connects leaders working in communications for good to the top professionals and best ideas in the field. ComNet is 3 days of ideas, insights, inspiration, learning, networking, and fun. At ComNet19—October 2-4 in Austin, Texas—we’ll be celebrating The Communications Network’s 40th anniversary.

When and where is ComNet19?

ComNet19 will occur October 2-4, 2019 in Austin, Texas at the JW Marriott.

Who should attend?

The conference is for leaders and communications professionals serving at foundations, nonprofits, or social sector-focused consultancies.

We also have a growing contingent of comms-focused academics, government employees, and others who share the belief that strategic communications is a vital lever for social good.

In 2018 ComNet attendees included leaders from nearly all 50 states, 5 continents, and organizations including :

  • Ford Foundation

  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • The San Francisco Foundation

  • Clinton Foundation

  • World Wildlife Fund

  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

  • Harvard Kennedy School of Government

  • Knight Foundation

  • Democracy Fund

  • Rockefeller Foundation

  • The Pittsburgh Foundation

  • Stanford Social Innovation Review

  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Why should I attend?

If you want to learn about emerging ideas, winning strategies, new innovations, and practical insights on what’s working (and what isn’t) in the field of communications for good while networking with some of the most gifted communicators, thinkers, and leaders in the social sector — you should come!

What time should I arrive?

That depends on what activities you’re interested in participating in. Please note: registration officially opens at 10:00am Wednesday, October 2nd.

  • If you want to attend the main conference you should plan to arrive by 2:00pm CT on Wednesday, October 2nd. That will give you enough time to get to the hotel and get ready for the Opening Night Reception that evening.

  • If you want to attend a Pre-Conference Workshop or Field Trip plan to arrive Tuesday evening (10/1) or very early Wednesday morning (10/2). Your suggested arrival time will depend on the session(s) you’re interested in attending.

Where should I stay, and how do I book a room?

The conference will take place at the JW Marriott in Austin. Attendees are encouraged to stay there as it will be the main gathering place, networking venue, and site of all breakouts and keynotes. You can book a room at our preferred conference rate of $289 per night, but space is limited and subject to availability.

Please note: conference registration does not include accommodations, which must be booked separately.

Can I stay at a different hotel or lodging?

Yes, you are welcome to stay wherever you like. Transportation is not provided to those electing to stay off-site. The majority of ComNet19 attendees will stay on-site.

If I choose to come in early or stay through the weekend, can I stay at the JW Marriott for the discounted rate?

Arrangements should be made directly with the hotel, and are subject to availability.  Please note: The Austin City Limits Festival begins on Friday October 4th and could impact weekend arrangements.

For more information contact reservations at (844) 473-3959 and be sure to mention that you’re attending The Communications Network Annual Conference.


How much does it cost to register for ComNet19?

Early Bird Registration, available until January 25, 2019 is:

  • $849 for members of The Communications Network

  • $1,250 for non-members

General Registration, which begins January 26th and goes until we sell out (usually in June) is:

  • $999 for members of The Communications Network

  • $1,499 for non-members

Wondering about membership?

Please email Chris Teed at She will be able to tell you whether or not you’re a current member of The Network, and sign you up if you aren’t!

Want to become a member of The Network? (It pays for itself in saved registration costs)

You can join here. We have individual and institutional memberships for foundation and nonprofit staffers and individual memberships for social sector consultants.

What does my registration fee include?

Registration fees include:

  • Access to all conference programs Thursday and Friday, including keynote sessions

  • Ability to choose from all Breakout Sessions and Dialogue conversations

  • Opportunity to register for our pre-conference workshops and field trips (additional fees apply)

  • Entry to Opening Night Reception

  • A group rate at the conference hotel

  • Access to conference app

  • A conference "swag bag" and related conference materials

  • Two breakfasts and a lunch

  • Free conference wifi

  • Community Group activities

  • Tons of coffee

  • New friends and instant community!

Registration does not cover the cost of a hotel room, so please reserve your room separately.

When and how can I register?

Registration is now open. Head on over to our Registration page to place an order.

Our Early Bird rate will be available until 11:59pm ET on Friday, January 25, 2019. Each year the conference sells out, and we have a long waitlist, so don’t delay.

Are consultants able to attend the conference?

Yes, but only if the focus of your work is with foundations, nonprofits, and social advocacy groups. Additionally, we have a strict no solicitation policy that we ask all attendees to respect. You can find it here.

If you are a consultant and would like to join The Network, you can find more information here.

Are there group discounts?

No, we do not offer group discounts for registration. However, sponsors receive free and discounted registrations depending on the sponsorship level. For more information on becoming a sponsor, please email Sean Gibbons at

Do Breakout presenters and Dialogue facilitators receive a discount?

Yes. If you’re leading a Breakout or Dialogue you will receive a discount on registration. Presenters who have already registered will receive a partial refund. Presenters must register for the conference.

May I attend the conference without registering?

No. Anyone who would like to attend the conference must register.

May I register for a single day pass at a reduced rate?

Single day passes will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please email for more information.

Can I get a refund for ComNet19 once I’ve registered?

Yes, you can get a full refund until 11:59pm ET on Friday, August 2, 2019. No refunds will be available after that date.

Can I transfer my registration?

You can transfer your registration until 11:59pm ET on Thursday, July 25, 2019. However, any transfers after Thursday, July 25, 2019 may not receive a custom badge, or a Community Group.

If you need to transfer your registration you must alert us. Keep in mind, if you are a Network member and are transferring your registration to a nonmember they will need to pay the difference in registration fees.

ComNet19 Waitlist

ComNet19 is officially sold out. Need a ticket? Add your name to our waitlist.

Other Conference Details

I have accessibility needs. Where can I get more info?

When you register for ComNet, please let us know if you have any accessibility needs. Please contact us in advance of the conference with specific questions about what we will be able to provide.

Do I have to sign up for Breakout sessions?

No. Once you are registered for the conference, you are allowed to attend as many sessions as you would like. Our most popular sessions tend to fill up quickly, so plan to arrive early for your must-see sessions.

What are Pre-Conference Workshops and Field Trips?

Pre-Conference Workshops are two-hour learning sessions. They give you an opportunity to spend more time with the content and dive deeper into the subject matter. They tend to be highly technical.

Pre-Conference Field Trips are offsite meetings at interesting and relevant organizations around Austin.  At ComNet18 attendees met with Facebook, Reddit, KQED, LinkedIn, and the San Francisco Giants. Field Trips last approximately two hours and typically include a tour, a meeting with the comms leadership, and a discussion about the relationship between the social sector and that industry.

Do I have to sign up for Pre-Conference Workshops and Field Trips?

Yes. Pre-Conference Workshops and Field Trips require an additional fee (ranging from $150 - $300). All of those sessions will take place on Wednesday, October 2, 2019.

What are Community Groups?

Community Groups are our way of shrinking the conference and helping folks connect with a small cross section of professionals from across the field. We know networking at conferences can seem like a lot, even for the friendliest of extroverts. Our Community Groups offer you a chance to connect with friendly faces, even before the conference begins.

Community Groups are led by volunteer conference attendees. You can expect to:

  • Get an email from your Community Group Leader in advance of ComNet19

  • Meet up before/at the Opening Night Reception

  • Have breakfast together

  • Explore Austin with a few new friends

What is the Day of Service?

The Day of Service is an opportunity to volunteer at a local nonprofit in Austin.  Each volunteering program lasts 2-4hrs. Not only will you be giving back to the community and getting a cool t-shirt, but hopefully you’ll be making friends, too!

At ComNet18 in San Francisco participants volunteered at The San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Golden Gate National Parks, Glide Foundation, St. Anthony’s Foundation, and National Muffin Day.

Will I be able to connect with other conference attendees prior to the conference?

Attendees' names and organizations will be posted to a password-protected page.  We will share the password with conference attendees. Please note that we will not share or sell registrants’ names and contact information, such as email addresses or phone numbers, with third parties.

All attendees will be part of a Community Group. Community Group Leaders will connect with their groups in the week before the conference. If you’re a first time attendee you will receive a special email from one of our Board members welcoming you to ComNet19, too.

What is the dress code?

The dress code for the conference is business casual. The October temperature in Austin normally ranges from 60°F to 82°F. Please plan accordingly.

How can I become a sponsor?

Email Sean at for more information.

What is the No Solicitation Policy?

ComNet19 is an opportunity to meet new people and network. It is not an appropriate venue for a sales pitch. Here is the complete No Solicitation Policy.

I’m a first time attendee. What do I need to know?

Most importantly, this conference is made up of smart, thoughtful, and friendly people. Get ready to have a good time. You can also expect to:

  • Hear from a ComNetwork Board Member

  • Be placed in a Community Group

  • Have A LOT of options (we suggest mapping out your day of Breakouts and Dialogues beforehand)

  • Have a blast at our Opening Night Reception

  • Learn a lot from Breakout presenters

  • Feel inspired by Keynote speakers

  • Share what you’re learning on social and through the ComNet19 app

  • Connect during Dialogue sessions

Are there any scholarships to attend ComNet19?

Yes, each year we offer 25 complimentary registrations through our Frank Karel Scholarship program. This scholarship enables nonprofit staffers and communications-focused academics, who would not otherwise be able to attend the conference, to join us at ComNet19.

Ten scholarships will be offered to local, Austin-based nonprofits. An additional 15 scholarships will be offered globally.

What is the code of conduct?

The Communications Network is dedicated to a safe, productive, and harassment-free experience for everyone. Our full Code of Conduct can be found here.

What are the social media details?

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram: @TheComNetwork

Use #ComNet19 to join the conversation

Please note: The Communications Network reserves the right to use photographs and/or videos and audio of you taken in public spaces during ComNet19. Images may be used in publications, online, and in other communications related to the mission of The Communications Network.

I still have a question. How can I get in touch?

Please email us at and we’ll be in touch as quickly as possible.